Backgrounder: MÚZSA at Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest

Budapest, Hungary

Opened within Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest in October 2020, MÚZSA is a jewel in the heart of the city. Imbuing the glamour and elegance of Budapest’s golden age, MÚZSA introduces a new lobby lounge concept, fusing the rich past of Gresham Palace with the needs of today’s sophisticated clientele. This new offering includes a private concierge library, a private meeting room, a tasting room and expansive bar areas.

Who is MÚZSA? The Origin of the Name

One aspect of the name selection was the undeniable aesthetic value of the word MÚZSA. The letter ZS has a sound that English speakers identify as being distinctly Hungarian. It has a familiar and pleasing sound, yet also retains a sense of exoticism. The name MÚZSA contains the essence of what draws many people to Budapest - European and familiar, yet with an alluring Eastern flavour and mystique that invites the imagination.

Central to MÚZSA's concept is the figure of the muse, especially its essential role in the Art Nouveau era. The muse has been with us since the dawning of civilisation in Europe, and possibly before. Originally, they were goddesses who celebrated and inspired art, poetry, history, music, science, and dance. The muse represents the best of what humans can do with free time and imagination and MÚZSA’s guests are invited to connect with the essence of that.

The muse as an icon features prominently in Art Nouveau, as the feminine personification of nature and the creative spirit. In this same way, MÚZSA personifies the soul of the Gresham Palace, and offers a place both to enjoy and to create culture.

Unique Experiences

  • Wine Concept - Premium Champagne by the glass selection includes Dom Pérignon and Krug 2006. Serving eighty percent Hungarian wines, reflecting the high quality and history of the country’s 22 wine regions.
  • Tasting Room - MÚZSA has the largest publicly available vintage tokaji aszú collections in the world, hand-selected by Head Sommelier Gabor Becker. The oldest vintage aszú available dates back to 1912.
  • Treasury - In MÚZSA’s Treasury, a bottle of Royal Tokaji Eszencia, the most expensive wine in the world, is on display and available for sale.

The Design Concept

The design concept for MÚZSA was overseen by award-winning hospitality design specialists Richmond International. The completion of this project – following recent renovations of guest rooms and meeting spaces – marks Richmond’s latest collaboration with the Hotel, having overseen its original design more than 16 years ago.

Taking inspiration from Budapest’s artistic 1910s and 20s, the design of the space draws on a palette of materials and colour combinations reflected in the secessionist interiors of the Gresham Palace. A central bar feature and a raised piano platform evoke a sense of theatre in the bar area, while the lobby remains more intimate and discreet. A reverence for the heritage of the building sees Richmond adopt a modern take on secessionist interior motifs, seamlessly blending past, present, and future in one timeless experience.

MÚZSA’s Partners Reflecting Hungary’s Rich Cultural Heritage

  • Herend Porcelain - Founded in 1826, the Herend Porcelain Manufactory is the world leader in porcelain making. Its name stands for excellence, uniqueness, high quality craftsmanship, elegance and luxury. From the very first touch of the raw materials to the last brush stroke, the birth and decoration of Herend Porcelain is a celebration of fine art and hand-craftsmanship. In collaboration with the expert artists of Herend, an original pattern was created exclusively for MÚZSA’s beautiful line of bespoke chinaware, the perfect complement to MÚZSA’s elegant bites. A collection of Herend’s signature pieces can be found on display in the Tasting Room.
  • Varga Crystal - A tribute to the timeless elegance of Hungarian craftsmanship, the Varga Art Crystal glasses are living works of art. Each hand-cut stem and intricately engraved crystal masterpiece is individually signed by hand. A collection of these crystal artworks can be found on display in the Tasting Room and with some of MÚZSA’s craft cocktail creations.
  • The Múzsa Collection by Maison Elysian - Inspired by the ornamental characteristics and decorative lines of the Gresham Palace, Boglárka Bódis, a local fashion designer, created a stylish collection of MÚZSA professional outfits individually tailored to each position of the culinary team. The design incorporates the beautiful pattern of the Herend Múzsa china collection and the mosaics found in the Gresham Palace. The result of the creative design process is a micro collection of outfits created from organic materials following graceful lines. The collection allows each MÚZSA team member to select their favourite piece of garment based on their personal style and preference. Boglárka Bódis, (Hungary’s Designer of the Year in 2015) the designer behind Maison Elysian, is known for her sleek, elegant and comfortably chic designs.

The Philosophy of Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau is an ornamental style of art that flourished between about 1890 and 1910 throughout Europe, often regarded as the Secessionist era. The ethos behind Art Nouveau was a deliberate attempt to create a new style that preserves what’s already there, free of the imitative historicism that dominated much of 19th-century art and design. The mission of Art Nouveau was to make art and aesthetics become part of everyday life, to bring nature inside and to bring art outside, intertwine it all with no difference between fine art and decorative art. The vision was based on nature, to build as nature builds, with curves and circles.

The Golden Age of Budapest

The Golden Age or the “Happy Peacetimes” between 1890 and 1914 in Budapest is particularly relevant in the history of Hungary.  During this period Budapest experienced its biggest growth in architecture, becoming one of the most well-known cities for Art Nouveau landmarks in the world. It was also then when Budapest became a hub for the artists and great minds of Europe, who gathered in Budapest’s many cafés, including the Gresham Palace. It can be said that Budapest’s soul was formed in the Golden Age.

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